Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, of Kano State, on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to sustain the Border Drill Policy and assistance to rice farmers for Nigeria to attain food sufficiency.
Ganduje made the appeal on Thursday in Kano, when the ministers of Information, and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono, led stakeholders on rice production value chain, on courtesy visit to him.
The ministers were in Kano on an assessment tour of impact of the border drill on the entire rice production value chain.
The governor said that, though the partial border closure was inflicting some pains on the people, they were however, temporary inconveniences that must be endured for a better future for the country.
“We know that there is a kind of conspiracy on this issue from people calling on the President to re-open the border.
“I believe the policy must continue until we reach the next level,” he said.
The governor commended the president for his political will to take the decision that would positively transform the country and aid its food sufficiency.
“What we are witnessing now on the closure of the border is the kind of political will that we needed many years ago.
“Past administrations could not attain this success because of the influence from few individuals who were benefitting from rice importation.
“With the good will of President Muhammadu Buhari when he came in, he did not mince words when he said it will not be business as usual.
“If we want to feed ourselves, we must go back to the farms; we must produce what we eat.
“What is needed is the right policies and persistence to ensure that the policies are implemented to the latter.
“We congratulate the president and the rice farmers all over the country, and in particular here in Kano state,” he said.
Ganduje said that prior to the ban on rice importation and the border drill, rice farmers in the state could not produce at the rate imported rice was being sold.
He said as a result of that, many abandoned their rice farms and many rice mills became moribund.
The governor said that the border drill had impacted positively on the rice value chain in the state and his government had been offering assistance to the farmers.
“We provided the farmers with quality seeds and provided 100 million revolving loan which we later increased.
“We also provided 10,000 irrigation farms so that they could produce during the rice season.
“The farmers are fully mobilised and we are all convinced that Nigerians are ready to feed themselves,” he said.
The governor said the state also took advantage of the bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Morocco on fertiliser production to bring the fertiliser blending plant, which had been abandoned for more than over 30 years, to life.
“We have brought the fertiliser blending plant into use and today, it is the biggest in the Northern part of the country and it is producing to optimum capacity,” he said.
Earlier, Mohammed who led the delegation said the team chose Kano to assess the impact of the border drill on the entire rice production value chain because the state had the highest number of integrated mills in the country.
He said out of the 34 integrated mills in Nigeria, kano State alone had 11, in addition to 20 rice clusters.
“An estimated 5000 metric tonnes of finished rice are turned out daily by the 11 integrated mills and 20 clusters in kano.
“The ratio is 40 per cent from the integrated mills and 60 per cent from the clusters, while the mills combined, employ about 10,000 people,” he said.
NAN reports that the ministers and the stakeholders, including rice farmers, millers and sellers, as well as a team of journalists, visited integrated rice mills and clusters of cottage rice mills in the state before the courtesy call to the governor.